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The Name of the Parsha

The term Ki Sisa literally means, "When you will raise up." But, in the context of the verse, the term is translated "when you will count."

Of all the parshiyot in the Torah, this one seems to be the most unlikely candidate for the name, "When you will raise up the heads of the children of israel," for here we read of the most devastating spiritual descent in Jewish history. Just a few weeks after receiving the Torah directly from God, and as they are about to be given the tow tables of the convenient, the Jewish people rapidly sink into the decadence of idol worship and, as a result, the tablets are smashed. This is hardly what one would describe as "raising the heads" of the Jewish people?

Our sages said about the Torah, "learn it and learn it, for everything is in it" (Avos 5:21). At first glance it, seems to mean that within the Torah as a whole insight can be found into every area of life. However, at a deeper level, the statement that, "everything is in it," could be applied to each and every idea in the Torah. Since Torah is the infinite wisdom of God, it follows that each idea contains a truly unlimited amount of information, to the extent "everything is in it."  And if this is true for a single idea, certainly an entire Parsha is macro cosmic in scope.

However, this phenomenon, that "everything" is found in all parshiyos of Torah, is more obvious in some Parshiyos than in others. Parsha could claim to bring this idea to light more than all the others, since it discusses three fundamental aspects of judasim:

Revelation - God gives Moshe the Divinely inscribed first set of Tablets.

Rebellion - The incident of the golden calf.

Reconciliation - by Moshe, for the sin on behalf of the Jewish people, followed by the giving of the second tablets and climaxing with th shining of light through Moshe's face.

The scheme of history also follows this sequence:

a.) Torah (revelation) preceded the world

b.) The world was created, which conceals God's presence (rebellion).

c.) With the true and complete redemption through Mashicah, God will finally be "reconciled" with His world.

These three phases are each crucial parts of a larger whole. Thus, even the middle stage of "rebellion" was ultimately intended by God as a precursor of the reconciliation that was to follow.

This also explains why the whole of our parsha is called Ki Sisa ("raise the heads"), for even the darkest moments of Jewish History have been orchestrated by God as a pathway to the redemption, when the ultimate "raising of the heads" will take place.

(Based on Sichas Shabbos Parshas Ki Sisa 5752)

 

 


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